In the wake of a large squatter fire in 1953 that left 58,000 homeless, Hong Kong's first public housing estate was born. Designed using a functionalistic approach, the buildings had a simple structure with no decoration to maximize the utilization of space.
Mei Ho House is the only original structure from the 29-block housing estate that remains today. Revitalized, part of it has become a youth hostel, while 2 floors in one wing have become the Heritage of Mei Ho House museum, which showcases the estate's history from the 1950s to the 70s.
The upstairs exhibition re-creates the various living spaces over different periods. Being resettlement housing for the homeless, one unit could have been shared by several families. Space was not a luxury here.
Next door is the youth hostel, which is a bit of a walk from the MTR station, but is within a very local neighbourhood with plenty of shops and restaurants that don't cater to tourists.
The redeveloped towers are far taller, and have welcome its new residents already.
Behind Mei Ho House is a long staircase up Garden Hill, which offers a good panoramic view of Kowloon. Signs now make this once elusive spot accessible and popular.
Before the demolition ...
The Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) is a renovated factory building in Shek Kip Mei that has become home to over 150 local artists, art groups and creative professionals. JCCAC provides studio, gallery and work space for Hong Kong artists to develop, practice and showcase their work.